A New Unit Is Born at Christ Church in Cabot, Ark.
My local church home is Christ Church in Cabot, Ark. Started as a new church plant nearly six years ago, it had not yet started a United Methodist Women unit. As a newly commissioned deaconess, I felt it was important to give back to the organization that gave so much to me as I was going through the candidacy process. Therefore, I stepped out in faith to start planning for a new United Methodist Women unit!
First, I attended the conference spring meeting to meet other United Methodist Women members and get information. After connecting with our district coordinator for new units, I held two informational meetings after worship services to gauge interest. Happily, I found that many other women were looking for a way to give to our community. Finally, the day of chartering was set for Saturday May 21, and we officially started the Christ Church United Methodist Women unit with 15 members! Other United Methodist Women members from all around Arkansas joined with us in celebration and shared cake and punch with us at a reception. It was a beautiful day!
Our first official meeting was held on June 9, and we elected officers. Courtney Reed stepped up to the presidency, Laura Gindlesberger became vice president, I took the job of treasurer, and Ophelia Mosley became our secretary. As a group, we all agreed that mission would be at the forefront of everything we did. With that decision, our first meeting was vibrant and alive with ideas!
Learning that there are many children who come to school wearing the same one or two out- fits every day, we quickly devised our summer mission project: “Undie Sundies.” We encouraged the congregation to bring children’s clothing (including “undies”) to church. At the start of the school year, the clothing was gathered up into two large boxes and given to the elementary school counselor’s office for distribution to those in need.
In August of this year, an ecumenical group of Christians hosted “Praise in the Park.” This 12- hour event of music, testimonials and worship served a twofold purpose: (a) it was the prayerful hope that through this venue the Holy Spirit might touch some new heart, and (b) it would raise funds for the new Christian medical clinic that would soon be opening. To help with the fundraising effort, the United Methodist Women had a booth selling home-baked cookies, brownies, popcorn balls and other goodies. We had a great time while contributing money to a much-needed clinic.
Recently, we participated in our town’s annual CabotFest. Our booth hosted five Bible- based craft activities for children. The children could decorate or color a Bible-verse bookmark, Bible-verse bracelet, or a foot- print shaped bookmark with the “Footprints in the Sand” poem on it. Alternatively, they could make a mosaic cross or a beaded cross. All involved had a great time!
We also have several other mission drives currently in progress:
- Haitian Artists for Peace International cards: We are selling beautiful hand-embroidered cards made by Haitian women to help these people who have limited means of earning an income. HAPI (www.haitianartisans.com) is supported by The United Methodist Church and is run by deaconess candidate Valerie Mossman-Celestin.
- Cokes for a Cause: We have placed containers around the church for can tabs that will be sent to Ronald McDonald House. Last year, can tabs sent to Ronald McDonald House were enough to cover the light bill for an entire year!
- Knitting for Noggins: This project has us knitting or crocheting hats for Children’s Hospital. I had just learned how to knit, so I jumped on this project. So far I have made seven hats. This project will continue to the end of the year, at which time we will deliver the hats to children at the hospital.
- Sock It to Me Sundays: Starting in October, we are collecting warm socks, outerwear and blankets. At 7 a.m. on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, we will join with a local group to bring a full breakfast to a home- less distribution “center” located under a bridge in downtown Little Rock. There we will help to setup tables, serve food, share a meal, and pass out the items we have collected. I am looking forward to this!
- Happy Birthday Jesus: For a Christmas project, our circle is planning a vacation Bible school style birthday bash for Jesus to be held on December 4. Suggested admission to the event is a new toy, and everyone in the Cabot area is invited to attend. There will be activities for the children as well as the adults. The event will open with music and will close with birthday cupcakes. Planning for this event has just begun.
Overall, I am proud of the way our circle has stepped up to the plate! We are working hard to address some of the needs of women and children in our area, are growing in our faith through devotionals at our meetings, and are having fun in the pro- cess. I am proud to be a United Methodist Women member!
Colleen Caldwell is a deaconess and United Methodist Women member at Christ Church in Cabot, Ark.